After the chaos last week in Darlington, the stars of the NASCAR Cup Series found themselves at a fan-favorite track, Kansas. For the past few years, Kansas has grown on fans by producing great racing, and hectic finishes. This past Sunday was no different. Coming into Kansas, it has been well documented that Toyota has dominated Kansas in the last seven or eight years. This past weekend was not any different. But it wasn’t with the Toyota driver that most people had winning at Kansas.
A Profound Victory for Reddick:
Last season, the two Kansas races were won by 23XI Racing. The Spring race was won by former driver, Kurt Busch. The Fall race was won by Bubba Wallace. The coincidental part about these two wins? Both Wallace and Busch won in the #45 car at Kansas. The odds were in Reddick’s favor, but it was going to be a tough challenge to beat his 23XI teammate, Bubba Wallace. Right from the drop of the green flag, two cars were going to be tough to beat, Kyle Larson and Bubba Wallace. Unfortunately for Wallace, he had a flat right rear tire on lap 108 that knocked him out of contention for the win on Sunday. But for a good portion of the race, it was in the hands of Hendrick Motorsports teammates, Kyle Larson, and Chase Elliott.
It wasn’t until the late portions of the race that other drivers came into the factor. It looked like it was going to be another Kansas win for Denny Hamlin. But a late-race caution changed that. With the late-race restart, Reddick restarted in fifth. Coming to the white flag, Reddick made a three-wide move for the lead, and it was all that he needed. It wasn’t a dominant win for Reddick, but it’s a win, nonetheless. This is a big win for Reddick seeing as now he is locked into the Round of 12. Three of the last four Kansas races have been won by the #45 23XI Racing Toyota. They have proven that they can be competitive on all sorts of different b. But such as the pattern of the #45 winning at Kansas, there is also another pattern that has to do with other playoff drivers.
Trouble for Playoff Drivers:
Throughout the history of the Kansas playoff race, it has been very well documented that several playoff drivers always have trouble at Kansas. Things got interesting very early for playoff drivers at Kansas. On lap four, Championship favorite, Martin Truex Jr., had a flat right rear tire and smacked the wall in turn three. This ended his day, and he is currently seven points below the cutline to make it into the Round of 12. Chris Buescher also had trouble late in the race on Sunday with just seven laps to go. Currently, Buescher is 13 points above the cutline. Nearly half of the playoff drivers had issues on Sunday at Kansas. But this coming Saturday, it wouldn’t be a shocker if more playoff drivers had issues at Bristol.
What to Expect from Bristol
The Bristol night race can be argued as the hottest ticket in NASCAR, if not in sports. Bristol is called The Last Great Colosseum for a reason. Every year, the Bristol night race is known to be a battle between man and machine. Ever since Bristol became the cutoff race for the Round of 16 in 2020, it has been nasty to playoff drivers. This coming Saturday will be no different. Last year, Kyle Busch suffered a catastrophic engine failure, which ended his playoff hopes. It will not be a shocker if there are several engine or tire issues on Saturday night. If there is one driver to keep an eye on, it would be Christopher Bell. Bell won the Bristol dirt race earlier this season but hasn’t gotten it done on the concrete. This coming weekend will be a great opportunity for Bell to get it done at Bristol.
Current Playoff Standings:
1st: Kyle Larson: Advanced to The Round of 12.
2nd: Tyler Reddick: Advanced to The Round of 12.
3rd: Denny Hamlin: +49 points above the cutline.
4th: William Byron: +41 points above the cutline.
5th: Brad Keselowski: +33 points above the cutline.
6th: Ryan Blaney: +25 points above the cutline.
7th: Kyle Busch: +24 points above the cutline.
8th: Ross Chastain: +18 points above the cutline.
9th: Chris Buescher: +13 points above the cutline.
10: Christopher Bell: +13 points above the cutline.
11th: Joey Logano: +12 points above the cutline.
12th: Kevin Harvick: +7 points above the cutline.
13th: Martin Truex Jr: -7 points below the cutline.
14th: Bubba Wallace: -19 points below the cutline.
15th: Ricky Stenhouse Jr: -22 points below the cutline.
16th: Michael McDowell: -40 points below the cutline.